Being a good role model

Okay, it’s that time of the week for me to post again. I’m happy to read all the feedback from those who took the time to read my previous blogs and that there are others who are interested or can relate. Reading some of the feedback from fathers of young half-Thais reminds me of the family I went with to last year’s London Thai Festival. *Rupa, my mother’s acquaintance, came from Yasothon in Isaan and married a much older British man named *Andrew. He already had grown children from a previous marriage, and I knew his son *Davy from school, although we had no other association aside from that.

Rupa and Andrew had a baby daughter, *Sady, so their family was already making slight comparisons between Sady and me. Davy’s sister even saying “Yeah, you are both half” while taking friendly glances at us. Sady was a cute little girl, with thin light brown hair, brown eyes and cutely dressed. She was quiet at times and would happily smile back if one smiled at her. I thought on a few occasions “Hey, she reminds me of someone?” before recognizing that she kind of resembled a mini-me. I mentioned this to Andrew at one point when he said “Yeah I can see that” which is when I realized that they got the picture too and that they were also paying attention to my behaviour and personality.

Rupa and Sady had come to visit us one day and my mother had told me afterwards that Rupa had approached her, while I was playing with Sady in my room, asking about how my mother raised me as a child. What her treatment was towards me because she thought I acted more like a respective Thai girl, than a more-seen-than-not British/Western girl, perhaps, doing things like smoking, drugs, hanging with the wrong crowd or wearing revealing clothing, in other words, ‘being immoral or disrespectful’. She had already become worried that Sady would grow up behaving like the girls she’d seen walking down the streets.

To this, my mother answered that this was all my own doing. (Lucky for me) that was just how I am and always have been and that I am clever enough to know what I’m doing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m flawless or a saint, lol, but it’s true. I feel and act somewhat ‘different’ to some Westernized girls, positively I mean. In respect to ‘being Thai’, parents like Rupa are worried that their children will be influenced by today’s or tomorrow’s society they live in, that is not always pleasant, and go down the wrong path, especially, since Thailand is very influenced by Western culture and that there are some Thai teens becoming somewhat ‘un-Thai’ these days.


Little girl wai-ing

Having respect and good morals (most of the time) doesn’t only apply to Thai culture but it is something I’ve learnt is highly impressive, to Thais and non-Thais, in every day life. I think for those parents that are worried about raising their own children, or moreover young half-Thais, it is already good if they are raising them in both cultures and set good examples of respect but I think it’s also good to leave room for them to know themselves and the rights and wrongs. In my family, it can be difficult because we are living abroad and neither my father nor brother are as interested or know the ‘Thai ways’ as some others but at least there was room for me to learn about it eventually if I so wanted to.

(image courtesy of manveg.co.uk/oldsite/thaiesa2.html)

*Name changes to protect privacy

6 responses to “Being a good role model

  1. Hi Jen –

    Very nice blog and cute pic of Sady! I can understand what your mom and Yupa might worry about because I see the same thing here.

    At Wat Thai DC where I go for Thai class I see many Thai families interact at the temple. They come not just to help take care of the monks but also get their kids involved with right thinking and good behaviour from Buddhism.

    Wat Thai is really the temple is really the only place outside the home for many of the kids to connect with their culture and history. Many kids have only know western ways growing up here in DC, Maryland and Virginia. Every time I am at Wat I see several kids there that range from the totally ‘Americanized’ playing video games or surfing the web in the computer room to young boys ordained as monks.

    Listening to mothers talk I can tell they worry about western influence on their kids and they are glad there is at least the temple to go to for encouraging Thai ways.

    Wit

  2. LOL Khun Wit. That isn’t actually Sady but it looks so much like her, just imagine her with shorter ends of hair. I couldn’t post her actual pic without her parent’s permission of course. But I found this one that was very similar to her.

    It’s lucky for those kids at Wat Thai DC to be active there. Sadly, I’m never in a good position to attend such things (v_v).

  3. Oops –

    Well it’s still a cute pic and perfect for your blog. Have you shown your blog to Sady’s mom yet? I’m sure she’ll be proud to her and her daughter are now ‘famous’ 😀

    BTW that makes two gaffs on my comment 😉

    Wat Thai is really the temple is really the only place outside…

    I’ve got to proof read my stuff more before I post 😉

    Wit

  4. N’Jen…You didn’t ask for permission from the ‘doubles’ of Sady and her mom to post their picture as well. This seems unfair to them na ja!:P

    …No offence. Just joking. lol

    You know what? There’s a Thai saying, “parents can only raise their children to grow up but cannot educate their hearts.”

    So I can sum up that wherever we are raised is not important, deep down it depends on us to destine our lives. Nobody can put us down if we do not allow.

  5. Interesting point of view, Jen. I always envied look-kreungs a little bit, because they are immersed in the treasures of two cultures from a very early age, if they are lucky. I see now that this kind of lifestyle carries it’s own problems and potential pitfalls too. Glad to see that you came out on the ‘right side’ na. 🙂

    Parents are the first, and perhaps most influential role models, so this is also the first point where a child could go astray. From your description, it seems very likely that Sady’s father is one of those losers I wrote about in a previous blog. Now everything’s fine, but I wonder what’ll happen when Sady’ll be old enough to understand these things. I have no idea about growing up with parents in a marriage that’s based merely on raw needs rather than on real love, but I think it doesn’t help the positive development of the child. In this case, I’d be glad to be proven wrong though.

  6. LOL, I should’ve responded to those earlier. Better late than never!

    @ Khun Wit: Thanks ja. LOL Your posts are really amusing, I’ll forgive the typos because of it.

    @ P’Crystal: LOL, I did ‘quote’ the web addy where I got the pic from. Does that count? Anyway, I agree with your statement and it’s a good one too ka.

    @ SiamJai: Thanks for reading. Some look-kreungs are well-blessed to grow up between two cultures without much trouble but it does surely depend on the individual and their life. I’m glad that this blog entry has shed some light on the different sides of [my] look-kreung life because it has its +ve perks and -ve perks. I will surely read your previous blog.

    PS: I just changed the people names cos I realised it’s better to protect their privacy, save for those who’ve seen the real names.